While it’s reassuring to see that your obsession with Judy’s breasts has lessened, there have been developments of a novel kind among the fair number of you who are Googlers. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. That’s right: I’m talking haemorrhoid cream. How the two things go together defies even the bounds of my seemingly limitless imagination but a number of you have been searching for ‘Richard & Judy’s haemorrhoid cream’. I should make it clear that despite the fact that this site ranks number 1 in the world for this search term, neither Judy nor I endorse any brand of haemorrhoid cream. We never have. However, if we were ever to give one our seal of approval, it would surely be the Korean favourite, ‘Bum Be Numb’, which is available only on import. Word of warning, though: don’t get it in your eyes on any pet to which the children have grown attached.
If that seems like an odd way to begin a post, it’s probably because you’re not familiar with the tricks of TV. Otherwise you would have immediately recognised that my opening paragraph was a cunningly crafted link to the subject of today’s post, which is indeed haemorrhoid cream.
My unhealthy and somewhat infantile obsession with randomly linking to Stephen Fry’s blog continued this evening but, once done, I turned the TV on and flicked over to BBC2. As you know, Bill Oddie is currently working on Autumnwatch live on BBC2. I don’t want that to mislead you, however. I was actually looking for Rick Stein’s latest odyssey through Italian food. Judy loves a good pasta dish and I’d settled myself down with a notepad ready to scribble down interesting uses for an pig’s congealed heart that’s been hanging in the pantry since last Christmas.
That’s why I was utterly disappointed to see that Rick wasn’t on and instead it was Oddie, sitting there and giggling as he does about some heron that had fallen over. Then there was a film about deer, some jaw ache about pigs, before it was back to Bill with his night vision camera. Then it descended into farce. He wouldn’t stop going on about beavers and chuntering to himself about his having made a rude joke. It left me completely bewildered as to how the man keeps his job.
After the show was finished, I turned to Judy and commented on his poor performance.
‘You should give him a call and tell him where he’s going wrong,’ she said from the armchair where she was reading Nabokov’s ‘Pale Fire’.
Well, it was either that or talk to Judy about Nabokov’s clever blending of metanarrative and paratexts and since I know Bill’s mobile number I thought I’d give him a call.
‘Oddie,’ he said and gave a whistle. That’s how he answers his phone. Always ‘Oddie’ followed by a whistle. He always says it’s meant to be ‘Hello’ in sparrow but I think he’s just a bit strange that way.
‘Hello Oddie,’ I said and gave a whistle of my own. ‘Great show tonight but do you have to go on about beavers quite so much?’
‘Ah, Madeley. I’ve been wondering if you’d be in contact. Heard about the tiswas with Channel 4. I suppose you want to borrow money again?’
‘Nothing of the sort,’ I replied, determined that I wasn’t going to allow the man to get up my nose like he did the time he took his Wellingtons off in the back of the Range Rover. ‘I was actually wondering if you’re actually getting any viewers for this self-indulgent load of old haddock you’re calling a show. Do people actually enjoy looking down the gaping maws of baby chaffinches?’
‘Hey, leave the chaffinches alone,’ replied Oddie. ‘They sweet little things.’
I could have gagged. ‘I actually turned on hoping to get some good pasta recipes from Rick Stein. Bit shocked to see you, if I’m honest… Don’t suppose you know any good recipes for pasta and chaffinches?’
Judy looked up from her book and gave me a shake of her head. I think she was impressed.
‘Look,’ I said, as Oddie fell unusually silent, ‘I just wanted to say that both Judy and I are really proud of the success you’ve become, but as a professional presenter, you have to learn to keep still. You’re always fidgeting. You should learn to stop moving around in your seat. It’s very distracting.’
‘Yes, well,’ mumbled Bill. ‘I’ve been out watching owls.’
‘Owls? And what the hell have owls got to do with your fidgeting?’
‘Not very much, really,’ he said. ‘Only, I was in this churchyard and it was late at night so I sort of sat down on some cold gravestones to have my tuna butties and hot cocoa.’
There’s a confession you don’t expect to hear from an ex-Goodie. ‘You were sitting eating your supper on somebody’s grave?’
‘It wasn’t like that. I did it proper and respectful, like… The trouble is that those ruddy stones went and gave me piles.’
‘I should hope they did,’ I said giving Judy the thumbs up and then the universal sign for the piles. She just rubbed her eyes and hid behind her book.
‘I don’t suppose you have any advice?’ asked Bill.
‘Well, you deal with all that sort of thing. You know, personal problems. Men with enlarged whatsits and women who can’t get their thing to you know what…’
That’s when I explained to Oddie that neither Judy nor I endorse any haemorrhoid cream, though if we did it would surely be the Korean favourite, ‘Bum Be Numb’.
‘A word of warning, Bill,’ I said. ‘Don’t get it in your eyes on any pet to which you’ve grown attached. I should imagine that goes for chaffinches.’
He went silent as I believe he got Kate Humble to scribble down the name.
‘Listen Bill, if you’re ever in the area, pop in and we’ll chat. I’ve got some excellent tips about presenting.’
‘Funny enough,’ he replied, ‘I’m coming that way next week to do a film on voles.’
‘Fantastic,’ I said. ‘How does Tuesday sound? You could come around for dinner.’
‘Terrific,’ said Bill, who is always up for a free meal. ‘I’ll be there.’
I said my goodbye and threw down the mobile. ‘Excellent news,’ I said to Judy. ‘Bill’s coming for dinner on Tuesday.’
Judy lowered her book. ‘Does that mean I’m cooking?’
I waved down the very suggestion. ‘Nonsense,’ I said. ‘You can leave that to me.’
I picked up the phone again and dialed a number I rarely get chance to dial on account of my being a little in awe of the greatness of the man.
‘Rick?’ I said. ‘It’s Richard. Tried to catch your show tonight. It’s on tomorrow? Oh, fantastic! Listen, I was wondering. I’ve got Bill Oddie coming over for dinner next week. Do you have any good recipes for chaffinch? Perhaps in a pie?’